There's never a good time for your boiler to break down or for pipes to block. Winter weather can put you on the spot, but you can always prepare and minimise the impact of the cold weather on your home.
Our Property Management team here at Home Made has put together an essential winter home guide with top tips to keep your rental house safe and secure throughout the winter months.
Falling leaves, debris from storms, and even the slight chance of snow mean that Autumn and Winter can be particularly challenging times for gutters in the UK!
Blocked or leaky gutters can result in water not being properly diverted away from your home, and they are a common cause of leaks or dampness.
So what can you do to help make sure your home's gutters are functioning as they should?
Check regularly for fallen leaves or other debris that might stagnate in corners and block drainage. If it is safe to do so, clean your gutters. Remove any debris, and if you can, run a hose or bucket of warm soapy water through to rinse them.
Never attempt anything that might be risky to you. If gutters are inaccessible, but you can see that they are getting clogged with debris, take a video or picture and send it to your property manager. They can advise you on the next steps and how to proceed safely.
The frequency of condensation on windows will naturally increase in the cooler months as heaters are switched on and the temperature drops. In order to keep mould from developing, it is vital that you air your home and follow these simple steps to prevent unnecessary build-up where damage can be severe:
- Use your extractor fans more frequently when cooking and open windows in bathrooms and kitchens;
- Don't dry sopping wet clothes near the windows or heaters as this creates more moisture in the air;
- Put your heaters on intermittently where possible to keep the temperature balanced;
- Wipe your windows and sills down, in particular, in the morning where morning moisture is more readily seen;
- Ensure you leave a gap with furniture from the walls (where possible);
- Use a product to help to eradicate any mould seen and to assist as a preventative measure - always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions as most products contain bleach, and not all surfaces are suitable for this type of product.
Remember! Condensation and mould growth are not the same as "rising damp" which seldom occurs above the first floor of a property.
Switch the heating on gradually
If you don't usually switch on the heating during summer, you should plan to do so for brief periods once or twice a month. This way, you can detect any problems with your boiler before you need to start using it regularly.
Occasional use of your boiler also helps prevent the build-up of grime, dust, and other debris, which can cause a boiler breakdown. Following this tip can also avert pipe corrosion - the most common cause of boiler leaks.
Don't turn the heat up too fast
If you are well into the colder winter months, don't be tempted to switch the heating up to its highest setting. A boiler at its highest temperature uses the most energy and also results in very high bills. Instead, opt for a gradual temperature increase, 1 degree at a time, until you get the temperature that feels best for you.
Most households should be between 18 and 21C; however, it should be slightly higher for the elderly.
Boiler problems to look out for
Low boiler pressure. The pressure should be between 1 - 2 on the pressure gauge; anything below 1 is low pressure and can mean the boiler won't fire up.
Kettling. If your boiler sounds like a kettle when it heats up, this could mean there is a build-up of grime or limescale inside the boiler's heat exchanger. Your boiler will not run efficiently and will waste money and energy.
If you think something doesn't look or sound as it should, get in touch with your property management team. They will be able to guide you so that you can take the correct steps and avoid any troublesome issues.
We hope these tips will help you prepare your home for winter and enjoy a warm and safe house. Check out more of our renter advice here and follow us on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook for regular updates on Home Made and properties we have available in your area.